EL Chapo, Kate del Castillo and Sean Penn


L'acteur et réalisateur américain Sean Penn lors de sa rencontre avec le baron de la drogue Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman
Sean Penn and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman (source: Rolling Stone)

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s recapture was one of the trending topics of the last weeks. Alongside his name, the names of Hollywood actor and film producer Sean Penn and Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo appear quite often. But why? What is their link to Guzman and his capture?

In 2012, Kate Del Castillo was contacted by Guzman’s lawyers after she posted a tweet criticizing the Mexican government and somehow expressing political support to Guzman. They then continued to stay in touch via encrypted Blackberry messages and this even after his capture in 2014 and after the evasion in 2015. He wanted her to make a movie about his life or at least supervise it, because he grew fond of her. He may even have been in love with her but neither this nor a relationship between both cannot yet be proven. She contacted a few producers and Sean Penn agreed to do it together with a friend. They wanted to make a movie in Magazine form, so more a documentary than a real movie. Penn entered in direct contact with Guzman through Kate Del Castillo in September 2015 and had to follow special security measures because the DEA (the American Drug Enforcement Agency) and the Mexican Government were keeping a very close an eye on him. They used encrypted phones and destroyed them by the end of the day. A meeting was set on October 2nd 2015 in a remote village in the Mexican jungle. They spend 7 hours drinking, eating and chatting. After the meeting, “El chapo” agreed to meet Sean Penn again for another meeting where he would answer questions in front of a camera.

Kate del castillo the guardian
Kate Del Castillo (source: the guardian)

The increasing pressure by the authorities in their manhunt made it impossible for both men to meet again without risking Guzman’s capture. They therefore continued to stay in contact through Kate Del Castillo who forwarded Penn’s questions to Guzman. He responded to them in a small video in which he said that he’s selling more drugs than anyone else on the planet and that he has a fleet of planes, boats and even submarines. He was also asked about his personal role in the increase of addicted people but he denied that, saying that the day he will be gone, nothing will change and the number of addicts won’t go down. He also justified himself and his drug business by saying that where he comes from there are no jobs and no future if you don’t make money by selling drugs. Even if drugs destroy lives, there was no other solution for him. That’s the case for many areas where the drug business is strong.

The Mexican government knew that theese people were in contact and also knew about their meeting in October. It isn’t clear yet, how much it all influenced Guzman’s capture, but it is sure that the Mexican authorities were able to localize him thanks to his meeting with Sean Penn. And this despite the drastic security measures. Maybe the actors and producers even contacted the government themselves to give them important Intel about Guzman but that isn’t clear neither. If they did, we will probably never know as it would put them in danger. Either way, all of them are being interrogated by the Mexican authorities “to clarify the responsibilities”. One thing is clear, Joaquin Guzman is behind bars now and Kate Del Castillo and Sean Penn have somehow taken part in it. Someday, we will know how, but this day has yet to come.

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